Brand New Dance was an album which Emmylou Harris released on October 16, 1990. Produced by Richard Bennett and Allan Reynolds, the album mixed a rather eclectic collection of covers, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest”, and Dave Mallett’s “Red, Red Rose”. Though it sold reasonably well, it was Harris’ first studio album in fifteen years to yield no top forty country singles, and marked the beginning of a commercial decline for the singer, which would ultimately lead her to redirect her music away from mainstream country, a few years later.
It was one of my first conscious country music buys, with that I mean that before I had just listened to my fathers record collection when playing country (or radio). This was a big step for me, I had bought country-rock albums and rock albums with country elements, but this was pure country. I still love the album, it has a very special place in my musical upbringing.
…and I think it has one of the best covers of Springsteen’s Tougher than the rest (audio):
Emmylou Harris sings Robin and Linda Williams’ tribute to Hank Williams. From Brand New Dance. The performance is more recent; the great Sam Bush on fiddle, and, on bango, Will Lee, not only a long-time members of the Letterman band but a former member of Emmylou’s bands. Here is Rollin’ and Ramblin (The Death of Hank Williams):
Emmylou Harris – Brand New Dance on Spotify: